The biggest problem for the Packers in this game will be covering Cleveland’s suddenly formidable core of wide receivers.
Josh Gordon is one of the most gifted receivers in the game today! Gordon returned last week at the Los Angeles Chargers (4 receptions in 11 targets for 85 yards) from a two-year absence due to suspension. He has had all kinds of off field issues and spent most of the past two years in rehab.
Gordon led the NFL in receiving yards in 2013 with 1,646 yards, but since then he has played in just 6 games up until his emergence last week.
Gordon is big, fast and talented with the speed to challenge a defense vertically. Because of their injuries, the Packers may have to change what they would do normally.
Kevin King is on injured reserve, Davon House has missed practice this week with a shoulder injury and thus Damarious Randall may have to come out of the slot and cover Gordon.
Randall is the one playmaker the Packers have left in their secondary with four interceptions and a fumble recovery.
The other receiver of note in this Browns offense is Corey Coleman, the first round pick two years ago out of Baylor. He returned to action week eleven after missing eight games due to a hand injury.
Medical issues have held Coleman back, but he is a tough receiver at the ball and dangerous once he has the ball in his hands.
The Packers will be playing people like Josh Hawkins, Lenzy Pipkins and Donatello Brown on the corner with the possibility of veteran Demetri Goodson as well. He has been activated from the PUP list.
He is coming back from a devastating knee injury suffered last year in Washington. What might hold him out of this game is a hamstring injury; he has not been able to practice this week.
The Browns employ the services of four tight ends. Head coach Hue Jackson, who calls the offensive plays, will do what Dirk Cutter and the Buccaneers did last week, attack the second level of the Green Bay defense and make Blake Martinez and Jake Ryan cover!
David Njoku, the first round rookie out of Miami, is coming on; he leads the team with four touchdown receptions. Seth DeValve is very good in the short zones, as the Detroit Lions found out earlier this season when he went off for a career high 70 yards on four receptions.
The Cleveland ground game has come on of late. In the last four games the Browns average 4.95 yards per rushing attempt, ranking 4th in the league over that span.
Isaiah Crowell leads the team in rushing with 595 yards a 3.8 average. He was the SEC Freshman of the Year at Georgia in 2011 before being kicked out of school for three weapons charges.
He runs hard, takes punishment, and when you saw what Peyton Barber did to the Packers defense you have to understand, Crowell is a heck of a lot more talented.
The Packers front is getting worn down in the ground game right now The Packers rank 14th, giving up 111.9 yards per game but their 3.9 per play average is 10th.
After holding three straight opponents under 100-yards rushing, in the last two weeks the Packers have given up 286 yards on 59 attempts to the Steelers and Buccaneers.
Opponents are investing 28.6 rushing plays a game against the Green Bay defense and 35.7 passing play calls per game. The Packers offense by comparison has averaged 24.1 rushing plays per game and 36.7 passing play calls per contest.